Two teenagers climb to the top of the School bell tower. Thinking of suicide. And so they meet each other, and starts a story that’s arguably the most heart-wrenching I’ve ever read.
Dubbed as the blend of The Fault in our Stars and Eleanor and Park, this book tells the story of Theodore Finch - a troubled teenager who often thinks of suicide – and Violet Markey – a girl trying to cope up with the death of her sister, and trying to figure out the point of her life.
The two take turns narrating the story. This is perhaps what makes this story so beautiful: their voices, raw, original, relatable – and yet so incredibly different. Finch is so full of energy, and yet at the same time, cringingly depressed. Violet is trying to come to terms with her sister’s road-accident death (and her survival), for which she blames herself.
Among the many, many things this book gets right, the depiction of the role of society and parents in relation to suicide and mental health is perhaps what’s the best thing about it. The struggles are relatable, honest. Which only makes it more devastating.
But this isn’t a totally sad story either; yes, suicide is the main theme of the book, right from page one – line one, rather – and it will make (some) readers cry at some point (it certainly made me). But where it shows depression and the horrifying effect of stigmas and labels, it also depicts the exciting, beautiful parts of life, the lovely parts. The Bright Places.
I’d recommend it to anyone, everyone to read this book. This book will touch you, devastate you – most of you – and stay with you.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.